5 things about jaundice

Don’t worry if your baby has jaundice. It’s surprisingly common and easily treated

  • Around 60 per cent of newborns will develop jaundice two to three days after birth. It usually passes within one to two weeks.
  • It’s commonly known as ‘physiological jaundice’ to distinguish it from the rare, more serious forms.
  • Symptoms include a yellow tinge to the skin and whites of the eyes, and these should be reported to your midwife or GP.
  • It’s due to a build-up of bilirubin, a substance produced during the normal breakdown of old red blood cells. A newborn’s immature liver may not be able to process bilirubin fast enough so it’s deposited in the skin, causing the yellow colour.
  • Physiological jaundice is generally harmless and usually clears by itself. However, a few babies need to have ‘phototherapy’, which involves them lying naked under a special lamp for a day or two, with eye protection.

For more information, visit www.netdoctor.co.uk.

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